As We Celebrate Supreme Court Win, Funders Must Remain Committed to Achieving a Complete Count
June 27, 2019
by Antonia Hernández
The 2020 Census is a way for all of us in California – individuals, families, businesses and communities – to get our fair share. An accurate count of the U.S. population forms the basis for many important, but often overlooked political, economic and social decisions that end up affecting our daily lives. An undercount bodes poorly for California, and Los Angeles in particular.
The Census Bureau has identified Los Angeles County as the hardest-to-count county in the nation. Half of Los Angeles’ residents are categorized as hard-to-count, and they include racial and ethnic minorities, children, urban and rural low-income households, limited-English-proficient immigrant and mixed-immigrant status families and single parent households. Getting them counted in the 2020 Census will be a real challenge because many are afraid to participate, live in homes that are hard to track and face informational and technological gaps that preclude participation.
Thought the challenges we face for the 2020 Census are unprecedented, we have come together as a cross-sectoral coalition for greater strategic collaboration and investment.
The California Community Foundation believes that we are stronger together—we strive to include and not exclude are most vulnerable communities. The 2020 Census is the most fundamental exercise in inclusion. We have made the 2020 Census a major priority for our foundation and believe that we should work to ensure every person and every community in Los Angeles have the right and ability to be counted in 2020.
In partnership with California Census 2020 Statewide Funders’ Initiative, we share the below statement:
As members of the California Census 2020 Statewide Funders’ Initiative, we commend the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down the citizenship question. The removal of the citizenship question from the 2020 census is essential not only to ensuring a fair and accurate count of all Californians but to the future of our state.
Although the citizenship question will no longer be included, investing in efforts to achieve a complete count remains critical. Our foundations have collectively invested $15 million to date—and plan to invest at least another $15 million—to ensure that all hard-to-count communities will be counted. Given the climate of fear, encouraging immigrants and their families to participate in this census will continue to be a challenge. It is essential to invest in trusted community-based organizations to deliver messages that resonate with specific immigrant communities. As a statewide funders’ table, we will continue to coordinate and strategize with one another, with the California Census Office, and with key stakeholders in the non-profit, public, and private sectors.
We call on all California funders to step up as the 2020 census quickly approaches. If you have funded census efforts, consider making additional grants to educate communities about the Court’s ruling and address lingering concerns, or to support efforts to reach a hard-to-count population that aligns with your funding priorities. If you have not funded the census, we invite you to learn more, join our table, and make an investment.
The census is a critical cornerstone of our democracy. Every grantmaking entity has a stake in making sure the 2020 census is a success given the lasting impact it will have on our state, particularly in marginalized and disenfranchised communities. We invite you to join us as we move forward to ensure a fair and accurate count.
Antonia Hernández is the president & CEO of the California Community Foundation
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